Sunday, July 1, 2012

West Slabs, Mt. Olympus

West Slabs
5.5 Trad
9-10 pitches

The West Slabs route is a classic due to the sustained climbing(9-10 pitches) and its enticing north face. The north face of Mt. Olympus is the obvious mountain face seen from I-215 in the Millcreek area and from all of Salt Lake City. The approach is a 1 hour hike/scramble up to the face.

The route begins at the top of gully at the lowest point on the slabs. The first 100 feet or so is messy but once above the shrubs and easy scrambling, the route follows fun, clean, quartzite slabs and dihedrals for several pitches. If you are on route, you will find an occasional bolt or sling. The last couple pitches, we simul-climbed due to the easiness and to shave time. We reached the top of the route in 3 hours from the base of the slab.

The amount of gear depends on your comfort level. There were several pitches where we placed only 2 pieces of pro for 60 meter pitches! Usually a #.5 or #1 camalot. Be prepared to build your own anchor. Trees are always a nice option, but some pitches end on bare rock. We brought doubles in cams .5-3 and doubles in stoppers. This amount of gear is unnecessary but came in handy when we simul-climbed near the top.

Looking west from about half way up

Topped out on the West Slabs route

The rappel route descends a gully to the right(west) of the route apex. There are slings on trees. If you have 2 ropes it will save yourself some time. Bring a 70 meter rope or you will have to down climb between rap trees(not difficult, but not worth it). After a couple rappels, hike down to the right gully to reach the base of the climb and hike out.